Blockbuster plans to close 182 stores by April

* Store closings aimed at cutting costs

* Company had 2,900 stores when it filed for bankruptcy

WILMINGTON, Del., Dec 20 (BestGrowthStock) – Bankrupt video rental
chain Blockbuster Inc (BLOAQ.PK: ) plans to close 182 stores by
the end of the first quarter of next year as it tries to find a
way back on its feet.

The largest U.S. video rental chain plans to close 72
stores by Jan. 1 and 110 more in the first quarter of 2011,
according to documents filed on Friday in Manhattan’s
bankruptcy court.

Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in September, weighed down
by its debts and stung by video-on-demand and competitors such
as mail-order pioneer Netflix Inc (NFLX.O: ) and Redbox Inc, a
Coinstar Inc (CSTR.O: ) unit that rents movies through kiosks.

Blockbuster has closed about 1,000 stores in recent years
as it tries to cut costs, but still had about 2,900 in the
United States when it filed for bankruptcy.

The company is renegotiating leases with thousands of
landlords, said Patricia Sullivan, a Blockbuster spokeswoman.

She said the company will emerge from bankruptcy by the
beginning of the second quarter of next year, with fewer but
more profitable stores.

The company entered bankruptcy with a plan that would put
billionaire investor Carl Icahn and his hedge fund partners in
control of the company when it emerges.

The case is In re: 10-14997, U.S. Bankruptcy Court,
Southern District of New York.
(Reporting by Tom Hals. Additional reporting by Santosh Nadgir
in Bangalore. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

Blockbuster plans to close 182 stores by April